You may have heard it said that we are standing in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. When I first heard that term, its meaning was lost on me. It sounded vaguely like something Isaac Asimov would have alluded to in his Foundation series.
In truth, the term was coined by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum. The WEF describes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as being primarily driven by the Internet of Things. While the catalyst to the first industrial revolution was the steam engine, the second was electricity, the third was digitization, and fourth is the proliferation of communication between sensor-laden machinery.
Though this may not sound as earth-shattering as the widespread adoption of electricity, but the implications are vast. Back in 1992 it is estimated that one million devices were connected to the internet. In 2017, that number has ballooned into 28.4 billion and by 2020 it is projected to reach 50 billion. In the next three years, we are expecting to connect about as many devices to the internet as we had in the past twenty-five.
The world as we know it now will likely be far different from the one we will see in the new decade. Businesses will strategize differently, individuals will live differently, and devices will behave differently. And much like how the steam locomotive gave way to the diesel, we will all need to adapt to this changing landscape or face obscurity.